Fat and Sassy

my views on being larger than life.

Fat doesn make you sick…people shaming you does. November 21, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — erylin @ 12:47 am

from Slate magazine  http://www.slate.com/id/2231508/pagenum/all/#p2

According to epidemiologist Peter Muennig, there’s another pathway from excess weight to disease. In his 2008 paper “The Body Politic: The Relationship Between Stigma and Obesity-Associated Disease,” Muennig argues that the stress and shame of being fat causes those cytokine abnormalities. In other words, obesity makes you sick by stressing you out. Weight stigma can kill you in more direct ways, too. According to a recent study of the risk factors for suicidal behavior among high-school students, how fat you feel is at least as important as how fat you actually are.

According to this theroy, then the intensity of the abuse you take…not the weight itself…is the actual marker of illness.   Women are almost 75% more likely to suffer eating disorders,  and face far great weight based stigma.  Women only 65 lb heavier make 9% less than theier peers.   Some studies suggest obese white women will lose 25% in wages against similary educated white female peers.   Sure enough women (espically white women)  are 7 times more likely to have weight related issues.  White people are 3x more likely to have wight issues than their same sized peers of african or latin dscent (two cultures that appericate a bigger behind and a curvier woman.)  “According to Muennig, a black woman who’s 5 feet 5 inches and less than 60 years old won’t develop any weight-related risk of early death until she reaches 225 lbs. Meanwhile, a white woman of the same height and age group would hit the same threshold at 170 lbs.” 

Shortness, too seems to have similar correlations.  shortness seems to be linked with heart disease, diabetes, and death.   It is also linked with worse relationships and lower wages. The health effects of being shorter are worse for men…..COuld it be that being short is stressing shorter men out and causing them to have health problems? 

If anti-fat bias can affect our bodies, then it’s worth considering how an all-out war on obesity plays out in terms of public health. When we reach out to poor communities and educate them about the risks of being overweight, we are, in effect, exporting the weight stigma that happens to be most prevalent among rich, white people. Indeed, Rebecca Puhl says the reported prevalence of weight discrimination has increased by two-thirds (PDF) since the mid-1990s, while media coverage of the “obesity epidemic” has quintupled over roughly the same interval. (Meanwhile, the U.S. diet industry has just about doubled its annual revenues—to nearly $60 billion.)

We’ve worked hard to frame excess weight as a major health risk and a drain on the economy. The motivation is generous enough: Anti-obesity rhetoric encourages people to eat less and exercise more. But what if it also encourages discrimination? If that’s the case, a war on obesity would come at a significant cost to the fattest Americans—in terms of lower wages, less education, and more stress-related illness.


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